Birdgirl: Looking to the Skies in Search of a Better Future

Celadon. Mar. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781250807670. $28. NAT HIST
Craig, known for her Birdgirl blog, environmental activism, and racial equity work, shares stories of her early birding days. Each chapter opens with a bird sketch and profile that matches either the tone or message of the succeeding pages. Primarily homeschooled and tutored as her family traveled the world birding, Craig became the only child to ever complete a Big Year, which is when a birder challenges themselves or competes informally with others to identify as many bird species as possible by sound or sight within one calendar year. Her accomplishments bring steep lessons in racism, elitism, and prejudice as she shares her birding progress on social media and learns to navigate the pitfalls of fame. For example, she was the on the environmental scene well before Greta Thunberg, yet comparisons persist. This book also focuses on her mother’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and her family’s dynamic within each birding trip. Birds remain a constant source of wonder as she navigates ecotourism, high school, and ambassadorship.
VERDICT This is Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle meets Neil Hayward’s Lost Among the Birds, and it will likely generate strong millennial appeal as well.
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